Adventures in Reading

Revisted: Inés of My Soul by Isabel Allende

I had heard a lot of good things about Allende and particularly about Inés of My Soul, and the book certainly did not live up to its reputation. It’s a work of historical fiction representing Inés Suarez who helped the Spanish conquistadors colonize Chile. Allende offers an interesting perspective trying not to over romanticize the Spanish conquest but still ensures that the native Chileans are indeed “savages.” The book never felt like it was Inés’ story and rather simply seemed like her perspective on how the men in her life lived their lives. The retrospective narrative told from the elderly Inés who faces death is reminiscent of Tristram Shandy with regularly diverging stories before she returns to the main plot. Overall, the book had interesting possibilities but read slowly and tediously.

I’m reading Allende’s Daughter of Fortune now and I love it, and I wonder if I was a little too harsh when describing Inés of My Soul. I do think it was a book that I heard a lot of hype about and Allende is certainly a familiar author. Perhaps I should have started off on what is considered an Allende classic rather than what was her latest book at the time. I definitely would like to reread Inés of My Soul in the future.